The secretary general of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Dr. Fang Liu, has said that a shortage of skilled human resources and training capacity globally will threaten the safe, secure and orderly expansion of international air transport.
Speaking in Seoul, South Korea during an address to over 200 advanced aviation students at the Incheon Airport Aviation Academy, Liu stressed that the urgency for human resources development action is particularly great in high growth areas like the Asia-Pacific Region.
The secretary general outlined the UN aviation agency’s strategic objectives, agenda priorities and efforts in support of ensuring sufficient numbers of highly-skilled aviation personnel through its Next Generation of Aviation Professionals (NGAP) programme, and commended the Korean government for its efforts for the development of the next generation of aviation professionals.
“The more than 100,000 daily flights now managed by air transport’s global network will surpass 200,000 in just the next 14 years. This is why your decision to pursue a career in aviation is so important, and why it is just as critical that everyone in aviation, from organizations like ICAO to airlines, airports and others, do everything possible to attract more young and talented candidates to follow your example,” Liu told the audience
He said the aviation community would need to analyse future growth, determine its specific needs, and collaborate on identifying, educating and retaining the next generation of skilled professionals who will help citizens and businesses benefit from the truly global connectivity which aviation provides.
“Determined collaboration amongst governments, industry, labour and educational organizations in the years ahead will be critical to ensuring that there will be enough qualified candidates to keep our network running safely, securely and efficiently,” Liu added.
ICAO began to highlight projections relating to pilot, controller, and maintenance staff shortages in 2009. It initiated its NGAP programme as a rapid response, and the next year launched its TRAINAIR PLUS programme. This was followed by the establishment of its Global Aviation Training (GAT) office in early 2014, in order to consolidate and coordinate all of ICAO’s training-related activities.
The work of the NGAP programme is undertaken both by ICAO and an extensive voluntary workforce that is composed of industry experts, aviation technical and training experts, as well as educational professionals. This team works together to raise awareness and support outreach activities around the world, most recently for instance in the inaugural Student Education and Careers in Aviation stream at the latest World Aviation Training Conference and Tradeshow (WATS) in Orlando, Florida, and the first ever Youth Aviation Forum last February in Cameroon.